There are places you sometimes see in photos and commercials with happy, smiling people in them, where everything appears wonderful and where life seems just a tad too perfect, and honestly, the whole thing looks made up. But wait, hold on, what if I told you that these places do exist? One such place is Logarska dolina or Logar valley and it looks like it was plucked right out of one of those too perfect photos with the smiling people. And even though it is such a picturesque place and very easily accessible, it is not a crowded destination - in fact, I dare say, most people who visit Ljubljana miss this place entirely.
A scenic 1.5 hour drive just north of Slovenia’s capital will take you to this glacial valley tucked deep in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. Winding roads with beautiful views go through small villages and lush forests following rivers and creeks with lively clear waters. Even before reaching Logarska dolina itself, you can make a short stop by The Needle - an impressive 40-meter rock formation rising just above the road which passes through a narrow gorge. The Needle has been stirring people’s imagination for ages, and according to a local legend, a giant girl who once lived there threw her needle here in anger after it broke.
After turning into Logarska dolina, you will need to take a few seconds to process what you see. The entrance into the valley is absolutely stunning:
The valley got its unassuming name after the word “log”, meaning a swampy meadow which in part covers an area at the beginning of the valley. The meadows are full of beautiful wildflowers in spring and summer time, lending the green grass a splash of playful colour. A herd of Highland Cows grazes away peacefully in the distance. And all of this is completed with an alpine backdrop, which makes it look almost unreal, as if were you to come too close, it would turn out to be an elaborate painting. But it is very much real. And there in the middle of all this ethereal beauty stands one of the most famous trees in the valley, a beautiful lone linden tree, seemingly towering even over the mountains behind it, making for an even more perfect picture composition.
Past the meadows, an area entirely covered in a predominantly beech forest called “plest” leads to the “kot,” or corner, area, which is also the very edge of the U-shaped valley. There are many hiking and cycling trails throughout, which lead to more remote parts of the valley or even up to the mountain peaks over 2,000 meters high that surround it.
There are quite a few waterfalls here, especially in the wetter months, but one that flows constantly is the Rinka waterfall. Among some of the tallest waterfalls in the country, it is fairly easily accessible on a trail of about 15 - 20 minutes walking from the end of the road. Rinka has a single drop of 90 meters and can be best seen from a little cafe-hut built in the side of the rock, appropriately named the Eagle’s Nest. The waterfall does indeed share the rocks with eagles and falcons which can sometimes be spotted flying over the valley. Most of the other waterfalls are cascades that flow abundantly when the snow is melting further up in the mountains. If you are lucky, you might catch this on a sunny day in late spring as well:
All this beauty and natural wonder in one place must be protected somehow, and so Logarska dolina was named a landscape park in 1987 in order to prevent any unbridled changes due to an increasing interest to develop tourism in the valley. The park is protecting not only its natural but also cultural heritage, such as the farms that have been there for centuries. These wonders, so beautifully intertwined, are a peaceful retreat, a magical area almost too beautiful to believe it is real.